Moalboal, Cebu

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Moalboal Cebu 3.jpg
Map of Cebu with Moalboal highlighted
Map of Cebu with Moalboal highlighted
Moalboal is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 09°57′N 123°24′E / 9.950°N 123.400°E / 9.950; 123.400Coordinates: 09°57′N 123°24′E / 9.950°N 123.400°E / 9.950; 123.400
Country  Philippines
Region Central Visayas (Region VII)
Province Cebu
Congr. district 2nd district of Cebu
Established February 6, 1852
Barangays 15
 • Mayor Inocentes G. Cabaron
 • Total 124.86 km2 (48.21 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 27,676
 • Density 220/km2 (570/sq mi)
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 6032
Dialing code 32

Moalboal is a fourth class municipality in the province of Cebu, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 27,676 people.[3]

Extending as a peninsula in the Southwestern tip of Cebu, Moalboal is bordered to the west by the Tañon Strait. From the western shoreline, Negros Island can be seen. Moalboal is located 89 kilometres (55 mi) from Cebu City, about 2.5 hours by bus.

Moalboal is nestled between the towns of Alcantara and Badian. From the tulay, an unfinished bridge located in Moalboal's town proper, Badian Island can be clearly seen, as well as the popular tourist attraction, Pescador Island.


Moalboal is administratively subdivided into 15 barangays.[2]

  • Agbalanga
  • Bala
  • Balabagon
  • Basdiot
  • Batadbatad
  • Bugho
  • Buguil
  • Busay
  • Lanao
  • Poblacion East
  • Poblacion West
  • Saavedra
  • Tomonoy
  • Tuble
  • Tunga


According to folklore, Moalboal has a spring where many of the locals get their water. Once, a foreigner asked a woman with a cleft what the place was called. The woman thought he was asking her about the spring so she said that it was a bukal-bukal. However, because of her speech impediment, her words came out sounding like Moalboal and that was how the town got its name.

Another story is one of Laguno, a local warrior who was exiled from his hometown in Bohol. He and his family eventually came to the shores of Moalboal and settled there. Laguno had a yam-yam or oracion, a native prayer used to repel his enemies, and he used this to protect his home when moro invaders came. Legend goes that Laguno instructed his men to throw coconut husks into the water, then with the use of yam-yam, Laguno made it appear that the coconut husks were real men. Seeing that there were many warriors ready to defend the settlement, the moro invaders left. Laguno was revered by his people after that and when he died, it was said[who?] that his body was buried near a freshwater spring located, strangely enough, on the beach. His men placed a large tree trunk over his burial ground so as not to disturb him and it is said[who?] that even today, that trunk still exists. Whenever anyone tried to chop the trunk, it would bleed.

The street fronting the Municipal Hall of Moalboal is called Laguno Street in honor of the warrior. Laguno's burial ground is said[who?] to be located underneath the mangroves near the tulay. The spring still exists today.


Population census of Moalboal
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 20,041 —    
1995 22,021 +1.78%
2000 23,402 +1.31%
2007 27,398 +2.20%
2010 27,676 +0.37%
Source: National Statistics Office[3][4]

Locals often call themselves Moalboalanons, taken from the name of their town. The "Moalboalanons" said they came from "Boholanon" decscents. Though the majority of the people in Moalboal are Cebuanos, a few members of cultural minorities have found their way there. Bajaus who are similar to Muslim nomads, are often seen in the streets, especially during the holiday season, as some of them make their living by begging. There is no evidence though that the badjaos have taken up permanent residence in the town. The first settler is said to have been a legendary Boholano fugitive named Laguno Sabanal.


Industry and trade[edit]

Moalboal is a peninsula and as such, it is a town almost entirely surrounded by water. Majority of the people who live in the flat lands engage in fishing as their main mode of livelihood. Those who live in the mountain regions, like Agbalanga and Bala, live through farming.

The common mode of transportation is by motorcycles with side cars, known locally as pedicabs or, depending on the distance, tricycles with side cars, called tri-sikad. However, due to the burgeoning economy of the whole province, tiny jeepneys or multicabs can now be seen in many of the rural areas, transporting people from Moalboal to many of its nearby towns.


Picture of White Beach, taken towards the south outside Barefoot White Beach Resort
Coral reef of Moalboal
Moalboal waterfront

Since the 1970s, Moalboal has developed a tourism industry based on recreational diving and beaches. Panagsama Beach, which was blown away by a typhoon in 1984, is where most resorts and restaurants are established. Further north on the peninsula, in Barangay Saavedra, is White Beach (Bas Dako in Visayan), a two kilometer beach which still has sand. This beach used to be quieter and mostly frequented by locals, and has only recently developed a tourist trade.

International tourists visiting Moalboal usually arrive by taxi from Cebu International Airport. The Fare is around 3000 Pesos, and the ride takes around 2.5 hours. Other ways to get to Moalboal would be to take a taxi to the Librando bus terminal or the South Bus station across the road. Librando and Ceres buses go to Moalboal, the fare is around 100 pesos. Make sure you are on a bus going via Barili, or you will end up in the South of Cebu.

In Moalboal most tourists stay at either Panagsama Beach (Basdiot) or White beach (Basdako). White Beach is known for its beautiful sandy beach and crystal clear water. There is plenty of accommodation near either beach, although Panagsama has the most bars and restaurants.

Since the resorts in the area cater mostly to divers, entertainment is laid back and there are no night clubs. Tourists enjoy the fact that you can still have a beer for less than 45 Pesos in most bars. At the moment the by far most popular bar is Chili Bar with its terrace overlooking the beautiful water. There is a loud disco every Saturday at Pacitas Resort, so be careful not to take a room close by if you want to sleep before sunrise.

Recreational diving is the main tourist activity in Moalboal, and it's very good, even according to Philippine standards. The reefs along the west coast of the Copton Peninsula are home to a great variety of marine life. Pescador Island, about 3 km off the coast, is the most popular dive spot. The structure of the reef the follows the entire coast line has made the place ideal for SCUBA diving, snorkeling and freediving. Divers can enjoy easy access to the reef since the drop off is shallow and close to shore but drops down to 40+ meters. As of 2014, you can often spot big turtles very close to the shore line.

Other popular tourist attractions such as numerous waterfalls, caves and canyons are found within a distance of 20 km from Moalboal.


The Yearly feast or "Fiesta" of the town of Moalboal is held on the 15th and 16th day of May. Moalboal is known also for its "Kagasangan Festival" translated "Corals Feast" in which they perform tribal dances and music.

Also barangays and subdivisions have certain fiestas:

  • Agbalanga - September 29
  • Balabagon - April 5
  • Basdiot - April 27
  • Bugho - January 28
  • Poblacion East: Dao - May 3
  • Poblacion West - May 16
  • Saavedra - October 15
  • Tomonoy - December 8
  • Tuble - January 21
  • Tunga - September 17


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Cebu". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Province of Cebu". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 

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